August 22nd, 2006

bear by san

"If you want me, I'll be in the bar." -- Joni Mitchell

There are also, yanno, some editorial dinners and things. But if I'm not being fed by corporate masters or earning my keep from the Con Committee, um, I'll be in the Same Old Place. Or maybe the Old Same Place. (okay, there's an obscure joke.)

Panel 1:  Thu 8/24 11:30 AM, 60-90 minutes. Title: WHY CYBERPUNK IS DEAD
Precis:    Twenty years ago, Cyberpunk was "it" in science fiction. It was bold, exciting, full of new ideas. What happened? Or is it still with us in different clothes? (Moderator)

Rocks fall. People die.

Panel 2:  Thu 8/24  2:30 PM, 60-90 minutes. Title: POST-APOCALYPTIC SF
Precis:    John Varley said "We all love after-the-bomb stories. If we didn't, why would there be so many of them?" Why do we all love them? During the Cold War, the threat of nuclear annihilation was very real; today, the world is a different place, but the threat of annihilation is once again very real. Has the sub-genre changed? How are 21st Century post-apocalyptic stories different from those written during the Cold War era? (Moderator)

I love disaster panels. We will blow up your planet, baby!

Panel 3:  Fri 8/25  4:00 PM, 60 minutes.  Title: AUTOGRAPHING: ELIZABETH BEAR
I will be the sad panda sitting at the table with the big eyes, looking like she'd like a coffee. Come say hi!

Panel 4:  Fri 8/25  5:30 PM, 60-90 minutes. Title: WHY IS SCIENCE FICTION SO WHITE?
Precis:    An exploration of minorities in Science Fiction, both the writers and their characters. (Moderating)

Panel 5:  Sat 8/26  1:00 PM, 60 minutes. Title: KAFFEKLATSCH: ELIZABETH BEAR
They will give me coffee. I will not fail to appear. You should all come, too.... well, whatever six or ten or whatever number it is of you who are first on the sign up list. (If this is like Kaffeklatsches of the past, it'll be me, the two people who came with me, and somebody who took pity at the last minute. Shhh, don't tell the concom: they buy me coffee.)

Panel 6:  Sat 8/26  5:00 PM, 60 minutes.  Title: READING: ELIZABETH BEAR
Um. What do you want to hear? 60 minutes is a LONG TIME. I could read some of The Stratford Man, maybe, or a short story. Or a bunch of bits of things. I leave tomorrow morning at 6 am, so any requests have to be in by tonight when I pack. Hmm. I could read "Los Empujadores Furiosos." It has a bull fight. And it's short. Or I could read "Sounding," which is not long, and made at least one audience member cry the last time I read it.

Panel 7:  Sun 8/27 10:00 AM, 60-90 minutes. Title: SHAKESPEARE & SCIENCE FICTION
Precis:    No, he didn't write any but he influenced a lot. Writers talk about how Shakespeare's work influence them and their writing.

(NOT MODERATING YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!FROG!) Hey, I get to talk on this one. And take exception to the panel description in a big way. Anybody up for a brawl on genre definitions of The Tempest and A Midsummer Night's Dream? How about Faustus as hard science fiction, where Hamlet is horror?

...there's a reason I'm not moderating this one. Moderators have to be, er, moderate.
bear by san

if this is the best we can do for bugs, is it any wonder we can't play football?

Poll #801471 For the North Americans in the Intarweb

A kind of large black and white North American wasp that builds paper nests and looks at you like he can take you, Jack (Vespula maculata) is commonly known as:

a white-faced hornet
a bald-faced hornet
my word, your alien threatening continent has a lot of stingy things!
you call that a poisonous insect, you wanker?
you call that a poisonous insect, maricón?
you call that a poisonous insect, colonialist scum?
a swarm of angry tickyboxes

Please identify where you live in comments.

Kind of a neat amateur fan page on the species.

bear by san

Make me a beast half as brave.

Just because I happen to be thinking about it now.

If you know how to drive--do you remember when you were first learning how to drive, and you had your hands really tight on the steering wheel, and you kept making all these tiny corrections, and the car never seemed to be in the right place? So you were there, oversteering, and totally stressed out, and it never seemed to work well?

And then eventually you relaxed a little and realized that as long as you were paying attention and had your eyes on the road, the car just kind of magically seemed to go where you were thinking of putting it?

Writing is like that too.

Corrolary: voice and strong prose are another one of those balancing acts. One of the oversteering things that writers do is using "feel" and "see" constantly, in a misguided attempt to establish POV.

Does this mean you should *never* write "She felt a cool breeze on her neck." or "He saw it fall." ?


But you should use them when the feeling or the seeing or the hearing or the whatever are the important bit, not the cool breeze or the falling.

Narrative drive is, I think, the writer's most essential tool. If you haven't got it, you're probably getting a lot of rejections that start, "There's nothing wrong with this story--" and you're kicking walls in frustration.

What's wrong with the story at that point is that there's not enough right with it. It's not irresistible. It does not have narrative confidence. Narrative confidence is one of those things you learn when you are no longer holding onto the wheel so tight your knuckles ache.

Go work on your rhetoric. It'll come.

NB: Relax. Almost nobody actually knows how to use the subjunctive mood.

bear by san

Hello there brittle and bold.

Progress notes for 22 August 2006:


New Words:  556
Total Words: 7333
Pages: 33
Deadline: September 5
Reason for stopping: End of scene. Time to pack.

Stimulants:  none
Exercise: none
Mammalian assistance: Mebd has gone to her vacation home in the country
Mail: Tim Pratt is liking B&I so far. This other guy is not.
Today's words Word don't know: kindnesses

Mean Things: She just got hit on by a kid half her age. And he ran circles around her.
Darling du jour: "King Phillip commanded, and I abided," she said, without audible irony.
Jury-rigging: I have all the out of sequence bits patched together, except the bit that goes at the end. And about nine scenes left to write.

There's always one more quirk in the character: Let's make one thing perfectly clear. I love Jack Priest.
Other writing-related work: Edits on the ASIM article.
Books in progress:
Hal Duncan, Vellum;
John Lindow, Norse Mythology;
Stanley Wells, Shakespeare and Co.: Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Dekker, Ben Jonson, Thomas Middleton, John Fletcher and the Other Players in His Story

The Internet is full of Things: SF Signal interviews Lou Anders of Pyr.
The glamour!: cat poop.


bear by san

Equal Opportunity Smoochicon

So apparently, I like pictures of people smooching, as I've just noticed that a statistically significant number of my icons feature smooching.



Now, this suggests that I need more smooching in my own life, which is, in all fairness, probably true. But there's a more serious issue at play here.

Affirmative action! I have boys smooching boys, and girls smooching boys, and boys smooching girls. I have interspecies smooching, alien smooching, devil smooching, rock smooching, perfectly vanilla royal hate-smooching...

I am entirely bereft of pictures of girls smooching girls, and also any smooching involving persons of color (by which we mean colors other than pink or beige, by one of those nonsensical circumlocutions)!

What is wrong with our media today? This state of affairs cannot be allowed to continue.

So, I'm taking nominations. Of course, if I have no idea of the context, it's not likely to get a lot of use, so, yanno.

Bonus points for particularly witty or apt text, or if it makes me laugh out loud every time I look at it. Extra bonus points for pictures of Susan Sarandon & Catherine Deneuve that stillsostrange can use. (Alas, I'm still awfully put out about the last two seasons of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, despite all my loff for Amber Benson and Alyson Hannigan, so those would have to be extra good to get past my lingering childish fan-sulk.)

I have five empty icon slots. Let's get some more smooching going on here!

NB: At Readercon, scalzi mentioned that somebody had confided in him most seriously that I was a lesbian. Heh. Keep guessing, kids.